Monday, August 31, 2015

Trail Mix Day: Nutty Chocolate Blueberry Cherry Trail Mix

Today is National Trail Mix Day! Since I like to walk in the hills, I always make my own trail mix. It's so easy, and there are an infinite number of combinations. I use a lot of dried fruits and nuts from Trader Joe's, but you can mix whatever you have.

Trail mix is perfect to take on a hike, as snacks for school, or throw some into your next oatmeal cookie dough for an out of this world taste treat. The following trail mix is also good for the heart. Blueberries have the highest antioxidants of almost any dried fruit, and you all know the benefits of dark chocolate. Most of the nuts in this trail mix recipe are salted, but if you want to be really healthy, cut back on the salt. And, of course, you can add anything else you'd like to the mix: other nuts, coconut, other berries.


2 cups roasted salted peanuts
1 cup roasted salted almonds
1 cup roasted whole cashews
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (the darker, the better)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

Mix together. How easy is that?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mint Chocolate Cookie S'mores

Photo: Campfire Marshmallows
I grew up with Campfire Marshmallows, so I thought I'd take a peek at their website. As I've mentioned before, so many brand and food association websites have great recipes. I certainly wasn't disappointed with the Campfire Marshmallow website. Marshallows--what's not to like?

Seeing that it is Toasted Marshmallow Day today, here's a quick and easy recipe from Campfire Marshmallows for Mint Chocolate Cookie S'mores. Of course, Girl Scout Thin Mints would be my cookie of choice, given that S'mores are all about Girl Scouts.


Mint Chocolate Cookies
Regular Campfire Marshmallows

Place cookie face side down on plate.
Carefully toast marshmallow over grill or campfire (or oven).
Place toasted marshmallow on cookie and top with second cookie. Press gently.

How easy is that?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Toasted Marshmallow Day! Your Basic S'mores

Tomorrow is Toasted Marshmallow Day, and for me, the best use of a toasted marshmallow is in S'mores. I posted so many S'mores recipes the other day for National S'mores Day, but in case you just want to make some basic S''s an easy recipe. Actually you don't even need a recipe, but in case you're one of the folks who like to follow exactly, here you go!


Graham Crackers
Hershey's Plain Milk Chocolate Bars
Large Marshmallows

Take a large graham cracker and break in half (one for top, one for bottom)
Break chocolate bar into pieces to fit on top of one graham cracker (so smaller than the graham cracker piece)
Put marshmallow on a stick or skewer and hold over fire until toasted.  (Golden Brown)
Take toasted marshmallow and lay on side of graham cracker (with stick still in) with the chocolate.
Take other half graham cracker and cover hot marshmallow. Press down and pull out stick.
Heat should melt the chocolate.
Squish S'more between fingers and eat.

Of course you can make more than one!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Bread!

Today is National Banana Lovers' Day. My grandmother never ate a banana in her entire life. She was from Eastern Europe and never saw a banana until she set foot on American soil. She didn't like the looks or smell, so she never even tried one! That's pretty odd, especially since I love bananas. I like bananas in cereal, in breads and cakes, in ice cream sundaes -- just about anywhere. So in celebration of the day, here's a fun two ingredient recipe for Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Bread!

Not familiar with ice cream bread? It's so easy and delicious. The ice cream replaces the fat and sugar. Only two steps and two ingredients. Be sure to use self-rising flour. Just add softened ice cream and bake!

You can use different flavors of ice cream, just be sure not to use sugar free or low fat. Go for the full fat ice cream. It's more flavorful, anyway! I've made this awesome loaf with Chocolate Ice Cream, Rocky Road, as well as Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but for today's Banana Lovers' Day holiday, I'm making it with Chunky Monkey. You can always use plain banana ice cream or chocolate ice cream, too, and add extra bits. Chunky Monkey already has extra bits of chocolate in it, but you can always add more. Experiment and have fun with this recipe!

Makes a large loaf or two smaller loafs


2 pints Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey, softened or melted
3 cups self-rising flour
1 very ripe banana, chopped
1 dark chocolate bar, chopped
Walnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour large bread pan or two small bread pans, or line with parchment paper. 
Mix melted ice cream and flour until very well combined. 
Fold in chopped chocolate, banana, and nuts. 
Pour into prepared bread pan. 
Bake 45 minutes per loaf or 60-90 minutes for big double loaf. If top starts to brown too much, cover it with aluminum foil and continue to bake. 

Photo: Junkfood Cinema

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Chocolate Yogurt Cheesecake

I attend the Fancy Food Show every year, and I love it! Not only do I get to discover and taste new chocolate and other foods, but there are lots of recipes available. I first received this recipe from Stonyfield three or four years ago. The recipe is available on the Stonyfield website, as are lots of other great recipes, so be sure and visit.

You're going to love this fabulous go-to recipe for Chocolate Yogurt Cheesecake. Once you try it, you'll make it over and over again! Just an FYI, I don't make the Chocolate Glaze. I think the cheesecake is rich enough as is.



20 - 25 chocolate wafers (each 2 1/4 inches, crumbled)
1/4 cup sweet butter (melted)
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup Stonyfield Organic Fat Free Plain Yogurt

2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
2 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 oz white chocolate


For crust
Mix chocolate wafer crumbs and butter together. Press mixture onto bottom ofungreased 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Chill.
Preheat oven to 300°.

For filling
In food processor fitted with steel blade, cream together cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, then vanilla, melted chocolate, and yogurt, and mix until all ingredients are combined. Spoon mixture into crust.
Place cheesecake on middle rack of oven and place pan of water on bottom rack. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. (Do not open the oven door while the cheesecake is baking.) Turn off oven; allow cake to cool for 30 minutes in oven with door ajar (hard to do at my home with cats and dogs!). Then remove cheesecake and continue cooling in pan on wire rack.

Glaze  (optional)
Mix chocolate, butter, corn syrup, and vanilla together while chocolate and butter are still warm. Allow glaze to cool; then spread on top of cooled cheesecake. For decorative feathered effect, melt white chocolate. Using pastry tube, pipe lines of white chocolate across still-warm glaze, then drag knife perpendicularly across lines to create pattern.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ghirardelli Chocolate Waffles with Top Chef Casey Thompson

Today is National Waffle Day, and I must admit my Waffle Maker doesn't come out as often as it should. I love waffles. There's something about all those edges that increases the flavor for me.

A few years ago I went to the The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival. It was a lot of fun with great chocolate treats, but the highlight for me was watching Top Chef Casey Thompson prepare Chocolate Waffles.

I always love chef demos and this was even better since it had the added elements of being held outside at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco: crowds, wind and noise. Top Chef Casey did a great job interacting with the audience while working with what looked like a temperamental waffle maker. She shared lots of good tips like giving the waffle maker a quick spritz of non-stick organic canola oil. The first batch did stick a little but that was o.k. Smooth sailing really. All this took place while overlooking San Francisco Bay. Beautiful.

I found a wonderful spot to stand... oh yes, all the seats were taken early, but I was right up front on the side. Great for photos, easy to hear and see. The recipe for chocolate waffles was from The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook. Surprisingly I didn't have this one in my collection. That was remedied when Casey started asking questions about Chocolate and Ghirardelli. First question: When was Ghirardelli Chocolate started? Frank Price, native San Franciscan, who leads our TeamBuilding Unlimited Chocolate Teambuilding and Tastings came closest to the correct answer, and he won a copy of the cookbook! (the right answer was 1852) Of course, he gave it to me for my collection, perhaps hoping I would make something for him from the cookbook! A guy can dream...

Top Chef Casey also made the Chocolate Sauce, too. Delicious!

Chocolate Waffles (makes 6 servings)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, separated
4 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat waffle iron according to the manufacturer's directions.

1. Sift flour, cocoa, and baking powder into bowl. Add sugar and salt and whisk to thoroughly mix. In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg yolks, and oil. Add to flour and whisk gently until just combined.
2. In clean, dry bowl, beat egg whites with  electric beater at medium speed until they form soft peaks. Fold into batter and mix in chocolate chips.
3. Ladle one-third of batter onto center of waffle iron. Close top and cook until waffle is crispy on both sides. Follow manufacturer's instructions for cooling time. Serve immediately.
4. Drizzle with chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce (make this first)*

4 oz Ghirardelli 70% Cacao Extra Bittersweet Chocolate baking bar, broken or chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream

Combine chocolate and cream in double boiler or in heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until very smooth. Keep warm or reheat before using.

What a great way to start the day!

Read an interview with Top Chef Casey Thompson on Serious Eats.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Chocolate Sponge Cake: Gluten-Free!

Today is National Sponge Cake Day! I have several recipes for chocolate sponge cake that I post during Passover, but this specific Chocolate Sponge Cake is fabulous all year round. And it's gluten-free! It's made with almond flour.

Want to dress it up? Add some whipped cream and fresh berries, cut it in half and fill with a light chocolate buttercream, or cut it up and put it in a trifle. Easy to make and delicious.

A few hints. Fresh Almond flour is readily available where I live, but you can always grind your own. Use a hand grinder (a clean coffee grinder) or blender --not a  food processor which could result in oil rather than flour. I've used a blender, and just did this in smaller increments, about 1/2 cup at a time. Almond and chocolate go very well together. Try using different types of chocolate to achieve the flavor you like best. Enjoy!

Because there are so many eggs to separate in this recipe, I use the 'egg trick'. Break all eggs into bowl (yes yolks and whites). Then take an empty water bottle and place the neck near a yolk and squeeze the water bottle. The yolk pops up into the bottle. Then place the water bottle over another bowl and release. So cool! Try with one egg first, just to master this simple task!


7 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao), chopped
10 eggs, separated
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups ground almonds
Almond Flour

1. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan of simmering water. Set aside.
2. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in chocolate and ground almonds.
3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate batter.
4. Spoon batter into ungreased 10 inch Bundt pan or tall springform pan.
5. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven, invert pan, and cool about 40 minutes before removing from pan.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate: National Peach Month

Everything is just PEACHY today! It's both National Eat a Peach Day and National Peach Month! In honor of the day and month, throw some peaches on the grill and add dark chocolate in the cavities. Peaches and chocolate -- a great combination of flavors.

Want to experiment? Choose different varieties of peaches and chocolate from different chocolate makers and with different amounts of cacao.

Here's a simple recipe for Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate adapted from an Epicurious recipe for Grilled Brown-Sugar Peaches with White Chocolate. That's a great recipe, too, and I love it with the toasted pistachios and WHITE chocolate. I don't like pistachios with the dark chocolate and peaches, though, but let me know what you think if you add the pistachios. It's a matter of taste. I stocked up on peaches yesterday. Love all the varieties.

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate

4 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
4 unpeeled peaches, halved, pitted
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (I like 70% cacao)

Get barbecue to medium-high heat. We use a Weber, so judge accordingly when you think it's hot. Make sure the grates are clean. Brush the grate with a tiny bit of oil right before the peaches go on.
Blend butter and sugar in large bowl. Add peach halves; toss to coat.
Place peaches, cut side down, on grill. Grill about a minute until slightly charred.
Turn peaches over (use tongs).
Divide chopped dark chocolate among peach cavities.
Drizzle remaining butter/sugar mixture from bowl over chocolate.
Grill until chocolate just begins to melt and peaches are charred, about 2 minutes.
Remove carefully from grill, plate and serve.

Friday, August 21, 2015

S'mores Fudge: 2 Recipes

I just love S'mores! I did a recipe round-up of Smores on National S'mores Day, but I think S'mores Fudge deserves its own post!

The first printed S’mores recipe appeared in 1927 in the Girl Scout handbook called, Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. Folklore tells us the name “S’mores” came about because everyone who tasted one asked for “some more.”

There are so many great ways to eat --and drink--your S'mores, so for today's holiday, but S'mores Fudge is particularly heavenly. The first recipe actually has three distinct layers...and it sure tastes like fudge. One caveat: This fudge is sweet, but then we're talking S'mores, aren't we? The second recipe is quicker to make (and eat) and the ingredients are all mixed together. Whichever you make, you won't be disappointed!

Have a great weekend!


Graham Cracker Crust
4 sheets of graham crackers
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter

Chocolate Fudge Layer
1-1/2 cups milk chocolate, chopped (or milk chocolate chips)
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk

Marshmallow Layer
1 cup 'real' white chocolate chips
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Line 8 by 8 square pan with aluminum foil, with extra foil hanging over (to help lift out later).
Crush graham crackers and mix in melted butter and sugar.
Pour into aluminum foil lined pan and push down with glass cup to make even layer.
Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Melt chocolate in small saucepan over medium low heat.
Remove from heat and add half can of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
When smooth, pour immediately over graham cracker crust.
Melt white chocolate in small saucepan over medium low heat and add in marshmallow fluff and rest of sweetened condensed milk. Stir until smooth and consistent. Pour over chocolate layer.
Refrigerate overnight.
Next day, lift fudge out of pan using aluminum foil.
Carefully remove foil and carefully cut into squares.


1-12 ounce bag milk chocolate chips or 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
5 regular sized graham crackers, broken into small pieces
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini-marshmallows

In small saucepan, melt chocolate. Remove from heat.
Add graham crackers until combined.
Fold in marshmallows.
Pour into greased 8x8 inch baking pan.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Cut into squares

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chocolate Pecan Pie Truffles

Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day! Well, that's Derby Pie to me, because Pecan Pie is all about the chocolate, corn syrup, pecans--and bourbon! I posted a Recipe Round-up of Kentucky Derby Pie in May, just in time for the Kentucky Derby. I also posted great recipe for Frozen Chocolate Pecan Pie from my friend Emily Stashower. And, last November I posted a Recipe Round-up for Chocolate Pecan Pie. You see a pattern here. I love Pecan Pie!

So for today's holiday, I'm posting a recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie Truffles. This recipe is from a 2012 issue of Southern Living for Kentucky Derby Truffles! I adapted the recipe slightly. This is such an easy recipe, and these are great! You have to make these! As always, use the very best ingredients for the best taste!


12 ounces dark chocolate (70-85% cacao), chopped
1 -1/2 Tbsp sweet cold butter, cubed
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
9 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup good Kentucky Bourbon
1 (5.3-oz.) package pure butter shortbread cookies, crushed (I use Walker's)
2 cups finely chopped roasted, salted pecans

Combine first 3 ingredients in large glass bowl. Cook cream and bourbon in small saucepan over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture is hot but not boiling. (Mixture will steam, and bubbles will form around edge of pan.) Pour cream mixture over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute.

Stir chocolate mixture until melted and smooth. (If mixture doesn't melt completely, microwave on HIGH 30 seconds.) Stir in crushed cookies. Cover and chill 3 hours or until firm.

Shape into 1-inch balls (about 2 tsp per ball). Roll in chopped pecans. Place on wax or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Chill 1 hour. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 5 days.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Perfect Back to School Chocolate Chip Cookies

Back to School:

You can't have too many chocolate chip cookies to put in that school lunch box! I've done lots of Chocolate Chip Cookie round-ups.. so many recipes, so many varieties. I bet you could make a different chocolate chip cookie recipe every day! I just love Chocolate Chip Cookies! So here's one more recipe for the start of school. This recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour. It's a favorite! The vinegar is the trick!


2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sweet butter, right from the fridge, or at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
 2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F
Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
In large bowl, combine sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.
Beat in egg, again beating until smooth.
Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Mix in flour, then fold in chips.
Use spoon (or tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/4" balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them on all sides; they'll spread.
Bake cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, until edges are chestnut brown and tops are light golden brown, almost blonde.
Remove from oven and cool on pan until set enough to move without breaking.
Repeat with remaining dough.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mrs. Cook's Chocolate Chip Cake: Retro Ad & Recipe

This ad doesn't have the glitz that we expect from ads today, but the recipe is great! You'll love Mrs. Cook's Chocolate Chip Cake! How can you go wrong with a name like Cook? It really is a prize winner!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Pie!

I love Ice Cream Pie! Here's a Retro Jell-O Chocolate Ice Cream Pie Ad & Recipe from Good Housekeeping, 1959. O.K. this is not how I would make it. Why not just use some chocolate ice cream? Scroll down for an easy recipe for a more 'modern' Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Pie!

'Modern' Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

Since I'm all about Chocolate, the pie shell can be made with chocolate wafers or oreos.. either works well.

To make the crust, crumb up the wafers or oreos either by putting them in a plastic bag and running a rolling pin over them or by whirling them in your food processor. Add 1/2 stick of melted butter (or a bit more) and press into a 9" pie plate, going up the side. Bake for 5-10 minutes at 350 -- or not. Since this is an ice-cream pie, it's not really going to matter if you bake it or not!

Next, spoon in the softened chocolate ice cream. Now here's where you can get creative--either a chocolate or a chocolate brownie ice cream such as Haagen Daz Chocolate or Ben & Jerry's Chocolate or Chocolate Fudge Brownie would be perfect! Then freeze!  
Helpful hint: make sure to position the pie flat in your freezer.

And finally, top with Hot Fudge Sauce!

Want to make your own Chocolate Ice Cream for this Chocolate Ice Cream Pie?

Epicurious has a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream by Fergus and Margot Henderson that appeared in Bon Appetit. For the recipe, go HERE.

Or make Alton Brown's Chocolate Ice Cream.

What's your favorite chocolate ice cream? What's your favorite recipe? Add a comment and/or link below! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Easy Chocolate Lemon Meringue Pie

Today is National Meringue Pie Day and what could be better than a Chocolate Lemon Meringue Pie. I love lemon and chocolate!  (Photo is from a Vintage ad for "Jello" pie filling, but I use Meyer Lemon Curd for the filling.)

There are so many recipes for Lemon Meringue Pie. You can make your own lemon filling and your own pie shell, but here's a simple and easy recipe that uses Chocolate Ganache (I always have some in the freezer--but you can make fresh), artisan Meyer Lemon Curd from a jar, and a pre-made pie shell (I use Trader Joe's pie dough). O.K. you'll be making the meringue, but that's o.k. it's fun and fast.


Use a pre-made 9" pie shell. Prick and bake as directed.
Let Pie Shell Cool.
Add a layer of Chocolate Ganache (see chocolate ganache recipe). Warm it up first, so you can easily spread evenly to the edges.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Warm Lemon Curd (to allow it to spread easily) and then add it to make a layer on top of the chocolate ganache. Spread gently and evenly to the edges--don't mix the two, if possible.
Top with Meringue (see directions below)
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Meringue Topping:
4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 Tbsp sugar

Whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar in bowl of mixer. Beat whites until peaks form and then gradually add sugar. Keep beating mixture until stiff peaks form-about one to two minutes.
Using a spoon, place spoonfuls of meringue over surface of entire filling. Meringue should cover the filling completely to edge of crust.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes --until meringue has golden tips.
Remove pie from oven and place on wire rack to cool before slicing.

Happy Lemon Meringue Pie Day!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Magic (no churn) Chocolate Ice Cream: 1941 Retro Ad & Recipe

It's going to be a scorcher this weekend, and what's more refreshing than chocolate ice cream? And, no-churn ice cream at that! Here's an August 8, 1941 Retro ad and recipe from Borden's Eagle Brand for Magic Chocolate Ice Cream.  I love Elsie the Cow, and I'm definitely take her advice on bringing "homemade ice cream to the social." Luckily, I have an automatic refrigerator! Gotta love these 'story' ads. "If it's Borden's, it's got to be good."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to Use Chocolate: Advice from 1672

Nicolas de Blegny, 1687
So you thought all the health news about chocolate was new! Seems like it's been known for some time. Thanks to Kirsten Saxton to the link to Ask the Past, advice from old books. What a great blog!

This is from 1672: William Hughes the American Physitian.

“It revives the drooping spirits, and chears those that are ready to faint; expelling sorrow, trouble, care, and all perturbations of the minde; it is an Ambrosia: And finally, in a word, it cannot be too much praised… [It] keepeth the body fat and plump; and also preserveth the countenance fresh and fair… and certain it is, that a man may live longer with it, then with any kinde of Wine whatsoever... It is a great Cordial... strengthening the natural heat in all parts, and thereby prolonging life; for it is by an easie transmutation converted into blood. It preserveth in vigour the principal faculties, enabling men to prosecute their Studies and tedious exercises, expelling winde, opening obstructions… and is most excellent against Hypochondriack melancholy.” 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Tart: National Raspberry Tarte Day!

Today is Raspberry Tart Day, not to be confused with Raspberry Cream Pie Day! For that holiday I posted a recipe for Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie! Raspberries are in season, and they're delicious. I favor Driscoll's Berries, especially since I can find them in the market year round. I live in California, so that's pretty easy. Driscoll's Berries are always sweet and fresh. I also find great raspberries at the local farmers' markets. I love raspberries!

So in honor of the day, here's a recipe for a Chocolate Raspberry Tarte (or Tart)! This recipe is adapted from the Art and Soul of Baking cookbook. Of course, it has a chocolate crust! The crust in this recipe is not the usual one I make from chocolate cookie wafers. This one is made using cocoa powder, and you'll taste the difference. Of course, use only the best ingredients -- the very best cocoa. The original recipe calls for making 15 tiny tartlettes, but you can also make one big tart (or a pie, if you only have a pie pan). A tart is usually made in a shallow fluted pan, usually with a removal bottom -- a tart pan. Tarts rarely have an upper crust.

For the jam at the end, I use Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves, one of my favorites. Of course, if you have your own raspberry or strawberry jam, use that!


4 ounces sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
3/4 cup raspberry jam (or strawberry)
4 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1/2 tsp water
powdered sugar

Beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Use spatula to scrape down bowl and beat another minute if there are lumps of butter. Add egg yolk, beat well, and scrape down sides.
Add flour and cocoa powder. Beat on low speed until dough comes together (but still has small to medium clumps) and looks moist with dark uniform color. Scrape down bowl. Use spatula to incorporate anything not mixed in.
Put dough in tart pan with removable bottom (or pie pan, if that's all you have). Press dough evenly along bottom and up sides of pan. (as with any pie dough, if it isn't working for you, stick it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes)
Use knife to cut off dough that is above top of pan (save left over dough for repairs). Put dough filled tart pan in fridge for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place dough filled pan on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and use any leftover dough to repair cracks. Bake another 8 minutes.
Remove tart pan to cooling rack and use rounded side of a spoon to press center down and make more room for filling. Let cool completely (in fridge, if you have to).
Put aside Tbsp of jam in a small bowl. Spoon rest of jam to cover bottom of tart crust.
Put chocolate in heatproof bowl. Put heavy cream in small saucepan. Heat cream until it just starts to boil, then pour over chocolate. Begin whisking to blend completely and melt all chocolate. Pour ganache into crust.
Refrigerate tart for 1 hour or until filling is firm. Remove from fridge and arrange raspberries on top tart.
Mix reserved Tbsp of jam with 1/2 tsp of water and heat in microwave for about 15 seconds. Brush jam mixture onto tops of arranged raspberries (just a little to make them shiny).
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Optional: Sift with powdered sugar before serving.

Monday, August 10, 2015

S'mores Recipe Round-up: National S'mores Day

Double-Decker S'mores: Hershey's
Today is National S'mores Day, and I love S'mores. If you're not familiar with S'mores, they're an incredible summer (or any time) treat made by sandwiching a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate between two graham crackers.

The name S'mores (alternatively Smores) comes from the two words "some more," because everyone always want s'more. This American treat was developed by the Girl Scouts in the early part of the 20th century, making use of the newly mass-produced marshmallow. Marshmallows were easy to transport, as were candy bars and graham crackers, and the marshmallows could be toasted over a fire to make a fabulous campfire treat in a situation where other types of sweets would have been difficult to come by. Of course, the quality of the chocolate and marshmallow, and even the graham crackers (if you make your own) will vary. S'mores aren't about haute cuisine, at least not at my house, and, if truth be told, I love S'mores made with Hershey bars, regular graham crackers and marshmallows out of the bag!

Here's a Round-Up of S'mores Recipes that have appeared here on Maybe you've already tried some of these.  If not, you now have a pretty good list of recipes! Let's face it, S'mores are pretty versatile!

S'mores Recipes:

Original 1927 Girl Scout Recipe

Traditional S'mores on the Grill

PEEPS S'mores!

No Bake S'mores Brownies 

S'mores on a Stick: S'mores Pops 
S'mores Truffles

S'mores Brownies 

S'mores Indoors: Retro Ad & Recipe

5 Minute S'mores Cake in a Mug 

S'mores Brownies using a Brownie Mix

Brownie S'mores from Scratch

S'mores Cupcakes

PEEPS Patriotic S'mores

Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores (2 recipes)

Chewy S'mores Bar Cookies

S'mores Pie 

S'mores Ice Cream Sandwich

S'mores Ice Cream Pie

S'mores in the Microwave

Pumpkin S'mores

S'mores Panini 

Peanut Butter S'mores

S'mores Martini


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Chocolate Coffee Zucchini Bread

Today is National Zucchini Day, and there's an abundance of zucchini in the garden. One can never have too many recipes for zucchini, this vegetable that seems to multiply overnight, hiding under leaves until you find the zucchini that swallowed Manhattan. So for today's holiday I decided to post yet another recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread. The 'secret' ingredient  of this particular chocolate zucchini bread is 'Coffee'. If you've been following my daily posts, you know that coffee often enhances the flavor of chocolate, and you'll find that in this recipe! As always, your final results will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the very best cocoa, fresh oil, and good coffee.

Chocolate Coffee Zucchini Bread 

1-1/2 cups shredded fresh zucchini (approximately 1 zucchini)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cold
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup Walnuts,  chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Lightly oil 9×5 bread pan.
Shred zucchini using fine shredding disc on food processor or hand shredder. I usually wrap the shredded zucchini in a paper towel and squeeze after shredding to get out excess moisture. Do this before measuring.
Measure 1-1/2 cups and set aside.
Beat together oil, brewed coffee, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients until incorporated, then beat together until smooth. Fold in shredded zucchini and walnuts (optional). Once zucchini is incorporated, pour into prepared pan and bake 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out dry. Remove  from oven and cool on wire rack. Remove from pan after cooling for 15 minutes.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dr Pepper Chocolate Cake

Yesterday I read an article about a 102 year old woman who said her longevity was due to eating chocolate (yes!) and meat, smoking, and drinking booze and Dr Pepper. Quite the list.. So in honor of this testament to Dr Pepper and Chocolate (no cigarettes, liquor or meat included), here's a recipe for Dr Pepper Chocolate Cake! Very retro!


1 cup butter
1 cup Dr Pepper
4 Tbsp DARK cocoa
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional...I don't use it)
3 cups flour,  sifted
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda

Dr Pepper Frosting
1/2 cup Dr Pepper
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp DARK cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp vanilla


Heat Dr Pepper with butter, but do not boil. Set aside. Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cocoa. Beat together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and baking soda. Add hot Dr Pepper mixture to dry ingredients. Stir in egg mixture, and blend well. Pour into greased and floured 15x10-inch sheet cake pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

About 5 minutes before cake is done, heat Dr Pepper, butter, and cocoa.
Stir in powdered sugar, pecans, and vanilla. Spread frosting on while cake is still hot.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

I posted a Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe Round-Up the other day on Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and totally forgot to put in a recipe for Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies!

So here's a great recipe for Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This recipe calls for a baking stone. You can use a pizza stone. If you don't have one, you can make these Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies the traditional way. The stone helps makes them gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside. I've adapted this recipe from


1 cup sweet butter, softened
2 fresh large eggs (room temperature)
2 cups brown sugar
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3 - 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp ground espresso beans (or finely ground coffee beans). Try this recipe with ground chocolate covered Coffee beans. Gives it just a bit more chocolate!
16 oz dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), chopped (or dark chocolate chips)
Baking Stone

1. Toss butter in microwave for 20 seconds to SOFTEN not melt the butter. (or leave out in advance, so it's already softened)
2. Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Mixture should be well blended but firm.
3. Add 2 eggs. Beat. Add Vanilla. Mix well. Set aside.
4. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another bowl. Add ground coffee or ground espresso beans.
5. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture, beating in a little at a time. Fold in chocolate pieces (or chips). Possible to add walnuts, if you want them. I didn't put them in the ingredients above, but I always like chopped walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies.
6. Put Cookie Dough in refrigerator for 2 hours to firm up. Put wax paper on top to prevent drying.
7. Pre-heat oven to 350. Put hot stone in Oven.
8. Take hot stone out of oven. Drop cookie balls (use a small scoop or form balls) onto stone, smashing with fork after dropping. Put back in oven on stone.
9. Cook for about 8 minutes. Depends on your oven, of course.
10. Transfer with spatula to Wire Rack.
Hint: Check the first one. If the cookies fall apart or aren't cooked all the way, give them another minute.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies: Recipe Round-Up

Apparently there are two Chocolate Chip Cookie Days on the food calendar. That's o.k. by me, because I can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes. So here's an updated round-up of recipes that have appeared on! Perfect for Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!


Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: 2 Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookies Secret Ingredient: Lemon Juice

Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Toll House Cookies: Vintage Ad & Original Recipe

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

Gooey Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Retro Chocolate Chip Cookies Ad & Recipe

Red & Green M&Ms "Chocolate Chip" Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk/Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Oatmeal Day

Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies: Baking with Honey Tips

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Zucchini Day

Double Tree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toll House Stars and Stripes Cookies

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fun with Devil's Food Cake: Guest post by Eva Gates

My mystery and chocolate worlds collide again! Today I welcome Eva Gates aka Vicki Delany. Eva Gates is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library series from Penguin Obsidian, set in a historic lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first in the series is By Book or By Crook; Booked for Trouble to be released September 2015. Eva is the pen name of Vicki Delany, one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. Eva can be found at and Vicki at Facebook at evagatesauthor and twitter: @evagatesauthor 

Eva Gates:
Fun with Devil’s Food Cake

At the moment, I have five writing projects on the go, under the name of Eva Gates as well as Vicki Delany. Every one of those five projects are waiting for someone to get back to me – edits, acceptance, critique, proofing.

So I’m enjoying a rare real ‘vacation’. Fortuitously, it’s summer so I can spend the days relaxing around the house, working in the garden or reading (and reading and more reading) by the pool.

I like to bake. My three children are adults now and have moved away so I rarely get the opportunity to bake any more. They gave me a Kitchenaid for Christmas last year, and considering that I do about 95% of my yearly baking in December (while awaiting the hordes to descend for Christmas) it hasn’t got a lot of use.

Recently, while relaxing and reading, I had an overwhelming urge to bake a cake. I found a recipe for Devil’s Food Cake on Martha Stewart some time ago that I’ve been wanting to try. The weather here in Southern Ontario hasn’t been very hot, so turning the oven on was no problem.

I made a cake.

It turned out just beautiful.

I iced it and admired it, and then realized that I really shouldn’t eat an entire two-layer chocolate cake all by myself.

I cut the cake into pieces, put the pieces into containers, and handed them out around the neighbourhood.

What a win-win!

I used my new mixer, I ate cake, and my neighbours think I’m a nice person.

Here’s the recipe I used.

Eva Gates’ Devil’s Food Cake 

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup sour cream
3 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment; dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk cocoa with hot water until smooth. Whisk in sour cream; let cool. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each; scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the cocoa mixture and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined.

Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth. Bake until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

(Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment. Re-invert cakes; let cool completely, top sides up.

I prefer a white icing for a dark cake, because I love the contrast. This is the basic one I used.

White Icing

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 3 Tbsp milk

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add milk, slowly. Be careful as too much milk will make the icing too runny.

Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart (

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Photo: Sunset Magazine, Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto
I've subscribed to Sunset Magazine forever. I love this 'Western' magazine for its home and travel tips and, of course, for the recipes! Over the years the recipes have changed from using heavy ingredients to producing lighter, healthier fare. Chocolate has been a constant, and the writers and editors at Sunset are always discovering new and delicious combinations.

So, since today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, I thought I'd post this fabulous twist on the ice cream sandwich from Sunset -- Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches. You can even freeze these for up to a week. If you plan to make brownies anyway, this is a great way to elevate them!

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt

1 pint ice cream, softened (any flavor you like--I love Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but vanilla is great, too)

Preheat oven to 350°.
In medium pot, bring 1 inch water to simmer. Put chocolate and butter in a medium metal bowl and set bowl over pot, being careful not to let bottom of bowl touch water. Heat until chocolate is almost completely melted, then add sugar and eggs and mix thoroughly. Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt, then add to chocolate mixture, stirring well. Pour batter into a greased 10- by 15-in. baking pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Invert brownie sheet onto work surface and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares; arrange on pan.
Freeze brownies 30 minutes.
During last 10 minutes, remove ice cream from freezer to soften.

Working in batches, scoop 1 heaping Tbsp ice cream onto half of brownie squares. Set remaining squares, shiny side up, on top of ice cream and press gently.

Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Straighten tops of brownies and trim oozing ice cream with paring knife if you like. Freeze, covered, up to 1 week.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie

Today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day, and what's a raspberry cream pie without chocolate? So for this recipe, the cream portion of the pie is Chocolate Pudding!

This recipe is from Bon Appetit (July 2004) aka Epicurious for Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie. The "black bottom" is a layer of chocolate pudding.. and as a bonus there's a chocolate cookie crust. I'm all about chocolate. Be sure and chill the pie overnight before adding the topping.

As far as berries go, any great organic raspberry works. I love Driscoll's raspberries because they're always good. This is raspberry season, so pick up a few pints today and make this incredible pie to celebrate. No time to make this delicious pie? Dance the Black Bottom! See video below.

FYI: This recipe is also a great black bottom 'anything' recipe: bananas and other fruit go very well with it, too.

Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie 

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 3/4 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies (about 30 cookies from one 9-ounce package)
1/2 cup sweet butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter

3 1/2-pint containers raspberries
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

For crust:
Spray 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray. 
Blend cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar in medium bowl. 
Press mixture evenly over bottom and up sides (not on rim) of prepared dish.
Chill crust 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust until set, about 10 minutes, then cool.

For filling:
Combine sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan; whisk to blend well. 
Gradually add 1/4 cup milk, whisking until cornstarch dissolves. 
Whisk in remaining 2 1/4 cups milk, then egg yolks and egg. 
Stir over medium-high heat until pudding thickens and boils, about 8 minutes. 
Remove from heat. 
Add chocolate and butter; whisk until melted and smooth. 
Spread pudding in prepared crust. Press plastic wrap onto pudding to cover and chill pie overnight.

For topping:
Peel plastic wrap off pie. 
Cover chocolate layer with raspberries, pointed side up, pressing lightly into chocolate to adhere (some berries will be left over). 
Beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl until peaks form; spread over berries on pie. 
Arrange remaining berries atop cream. 
Chill pie at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

And, the dance sensation that started it all: The Black Bottom.  In this video, the Varsity Drag title is in error. The Black Bottom replaced "The Charleston" as the next most popular dance of the 1920's. Released June 28, 1926. Written by Buddy De Sylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson.  Black bottom dancing was for the young and energetic. This song and style of dancing were popular in the1920's.